Wednesday, March 20, 2013

3/20 (Bobby Mo!) Quickie

Be sure to join in the Daily Quickie Readers pool of the Tournament Challenge. (Or maybe it should be called "Morning Winners.")

Today's Morning Win column on leads off with Robert Morris' awesome upset of Kentucky last night. It is very possible that will be the most exciting result of the month, entirely understanding that the NCAA Tournament doesn't really start until tomorrow.

It's great for Robert Morris. It's great for the (largely irrelevant) NIT. It's great for people who revel in schadenfreude about Kentucky.

Let's be clear: In November, I picked Kentucky to repeat as champs -- so either I am the worst or best person to talk about this. But my big reason was the Calipari "system," a clever arbitrage of the NBA's age limitations.

Calipari promises elite recruits three things: (1) NBA development. (2) Playing time. (3) A chance to compete for a national title.

Clearly, (3) totally fell apart this year. Next up is (2), which also falls apart in the event that this year's highly touted freshmen stick around next year, when even more highly touted freshmen show up. Something's gotta give, because they all expect 30 minutes per game.

Here's betting that Cal runs off the current frosh -- the new guys coming in next year are way better and, again, his system is predicated on "one-and-done," not (as I write in the column) "one-and-one-more."

A few more pieces of extra commentary:

*The near-universal pick of Louisville to win the title by sports pundits is baffling to me. This isn't Kentucky '12; didn't we just finish a season where every day was a new example of "Parity!"

*I don't expect everyone to follow my lead and pick Florida -- but it's pretty validating that the leading prognosticator from last year (Harvard's John Ezekowitz) has Florida winning it all (and my same Final Four: Florida, Louisville, Indiana, Gonzaga) and basically my same bracket. If I am going to fail this year, I'm taking down the reigning King of the Bracket with me.

*Good for NC A&T. Really good for Saint Mary's -- makes the pick of Play-In Game Winner over Memphis that much easier.

*LIU is near and dear to me: My grandfather taught journalism there for 15 years and their awesome '97/'98 team surged just as I moved to Brooklyn. Here's to a huge win, then taking down Indiana.

*As for my picks this year, I'm chalky, with the following exceptions:

Round of 64: Minnesota over UCLA and Saint Mary's over Memphis and Colorado over Illinois. (I also have a few 9-over-8s, but that doesn't count.)

Round of 32: Arizona over New Mexico, Wisconsin over Kansas State, VCU over Michigan. (At this point, 5-over-4 hardly counts.)

Round of 16: Florida over Georgetown, Marquette over Miami. (At this point, 3-over-2 hardly counts.)

Round of 8: Florida over Kansas.

Final Four: Florida over Indiana.

Title game: Florida over Louisville.

Be sure to join in the Daily Quickie Readers pool of the Tournament Challenge. (Or maybe it should be called "Morning Winners.")

-- D.S.

No comments: